|“||This world is messy enough. No. What it needs is unification, leadership. It has to be taken out of chaos by someone with complete control. Beijing, Moscow, Washington... When these missiles detonate, the world will turn to the most powerful man on the planet.||„|
|~ McCullen revealing his plan to the Doctor|
Laird James McCullen/Destro is the secondary antagonist of the 2009 action film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and a minor villain in the 2013 sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. He is the head of MARS Industries which serves as a faction for Cobra Command. McCullen is a descendant of a disgraced family that sold weapons to both factions of good and evil.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
McCullen is introduced in the film as a philanthropic scientist and businessman who is head of MARS Industries which is researching the nanomites. He sends out four new nanomite warheads to a special location. Unknown to the military and the GI Joes, he sends his Neo Viper henchmen and the Baroness to retrieve the case for his own evil plans. He is next seen in a holographic call to the GI Joes to examine and make sure that all three of his nanomite warheads are safe and secure. Later, he orders the Baroness and his ninja assassin Storm Shadow to retrieve the case. His assistant Zartan states that nothing ever works out. But McCullen assures him that this problem is one that they will eventually fix. His main scientist, the Doctor states that he has created several Neo Viper henchmen and sends a small squad to go with Baroness and Storm Shadow to the GI Joe pit. McCullen next sees three missiles that he says will make the world turn to the most powerful man in the world.
Later, McCullen sends Baroness and Storm Shadow to Paris to weaponize the warheads and test one on the Eiffel Tower. He wanted to detonate one on the warheads on the Tower so that the French will never forget what they did to his family. He then observes the Doctor's experiments on Zartan to complete Phase 1 of his master plan to turn him into the President of the United States.
Afterwards, McCullen orders Storm Shadow to launch the three remaining warheads into the sky so that they could detonate Washington, Beijing and Moscow. He later shares a kiss with Baroness, much to Duke's disappointment. He then has the Doctor prepare for another procedure, this time on Duke. He is next shown in a flashback scene where the Doctor (revealed to be Rex Lewis) investigates the work of MARS scientist Dr. Mindbender. e then witnesses that Baroness has ignored her nanomite programming for Duke because of her love for him. He then tries to use a flame thrower at Duke, but afterwards he was severely injured his head in defeat. He loses command of Cobra Command as Rex Lewis assumes the title of Cobra Commander at the climax of the film. He is then given a medicine that changed his face into hardened metal. The Commander then dubs him Destro. After this, he is apprehended with the Commander by the G.I. Joes and taken to a secret prison.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Destro is seen when Storm Shadow breaks into the prison to free both him and the Cobra Commander, as part of Cobra Commander's true plan to subdue the world with the threat of satellites. However, Cobra Commander orders for Destro to be left behind, and Destro remains in prison presumably for the rest of his life or he perishes in the explosion of the prison because of the Director Nigel James.